Joy is prayer - Joy is strength - Joy is love - Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. - Mother Teresa
Gospel text (Lk 1:39-45): Mary then set out for a town in the Hills of Judah. She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth . When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leapt in her womb. Elizabeth was filled with holy spirit, and giving a loud cry, said, «You are most blessed among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! How is it that the mother of my Lord comes to me? The moment your greeting sounded in my ears, the baby within me suddenly leapt for joy. Blessed are you who believed that the Lord's word would come true!».
Today, the text of the Gospel corresponds to the second joyful mystery: the «Visitation of the Blessed Virgin to Her Cousin, St. Elizabeth». It certainly is a complete mystery! A silent inburst of profound and intense joy as History has never ever narrated! It is Mary's joy that has just become a mother, because it is fitting that all grace continues to come through Mary by the work of the Holy Spirit. The latin word “gaudium” express a deep and intimate joy that does not burst out. Despite that, the mountains of Judah were covered with joy. Mary exulted as a mother who has just realized she is expecting a child. And what a Child! A Child that, before being born, already peregrinated through the bouldery trodden tracks leading to Ain Karim, nestled in the heart and lovely arms of Mary.
Joy in Elisabeth's soul and face, and in the baby leaping in her womb. The words of Mary's cousin will travel through time: «Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!» (Lk 1:42). The prayer of the Saint Rosary, as a source of joy, is one of the new perspectives discovered by our Pope John Paul II in his apostolic Letter about the Rosary of the Virgin Mary.
Joy is indivisible from faith. «But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?» (Lk 1:43). The joy of God and Mary has spread all over the world. To allow it within us, we need only to open ourselves through our faith to God's constant influence in our life, while walking our path with the Infant, with She who has believed, by holding St. Joseph's strong and enamored hand. Earthen paths, asphalt, cobblestones or muddy roads through, any Christian always carries upon him, two dimensions of faith: the union with God and the service to others. Both quite closely linked up: with a unity of life that establishes no solution of continuity between one thing and the other.
But WHY should we feel joy? We have this event in which we believe the Son of God is born as a human being in our midst. Our God, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob, the God of the prophets, the one, true God, sent His Son to be one of us, to be human, to experience what we experience, to live as we live, and to die as we die. What does it say of the love God must have for each one of us that God would send His Son to live this life of ours? How can we doubt God’s love once we understand this priceless gift?
But knowing is not the same as feeling. We might believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but how does that make us feel? Do we really feel joy at this time of year, the joy of knowing that God is in our midst? Or are we so distracted by the trappings of celebration, by the bustling of buying, by the hurrying about to get to this or that event, to shut down business activity for year end, to balance the books, to make year-end resolutions for next year, to relax with family and friends, that we don’t give ourselves the opportunity to feel the wonder, the awe, the incredible joy of knowing that this baby, Jesus, is the most unique baby in the history of humankind, because this baby, Jesus, is the Son of God.
My challenge for myself, and you if you wish, is to go off by myself for a small piece of time to reflect on the awe of God in our midst in the form of the baby Jesus. My hope is that by being separate for a time from all that makes this season so special for us as humans, I can feel the divine in my life that is the baby Jesus.
And so my prayer today is for the grace to look beyond the pleasant distractions of this season of celebration, however wonderful they are, so I can feel the true joy of knowing that Jesus has come into the world for me.